Famous Firsts: Korn's Munky on discovering Ozzy and smoking crack

Munky from Korn 2016
Behind the scenes of Korn's Rotting In Vain video shoot (Image credit: Paul Archuleta)

In Korn’s 20+ year career, they’ve seen and done it all. The group of dreadlocked misfits from Bakersfield in the mid-90s not only spearheaded the nu-metal movement but came out the other side as one of metal’s survivors. Considered by most as genuine innovators of the genre, the slack-bassed heavyweights are gearing up to release their 12th album who are gearing up The Serenity Of Suffering. But where did it all begin? Guitarist Munky looks back at his musical history – from keg parties to flaming RVs.

What was the first album you ever bought?

“I bought it on cassette and it was Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary Of A Madman. I still love that record, I’ve always wanted Korn to cover the song Diary Of A Madman ‘cause it’s really heavy and it’s got that odd time-signature. That would be fucking rad, man. I could totally see Jonathan singing that. The cover drew me to the record first, but then it was Randy Rhoads. My brother was really into Black Sabbath, then when Ozzy did his own thing with Randy Rhoads it was seen as progressive because of Randy’s style. That’s what really got me.”

What was the first single you ever bought?

“I think it was a Pat Benatar 45, y’know a real record. You might not see them much these days. Her husband was her guitar player in the band for years, I don’t know if he still is, and there was just this riff that he used to do and I liked it!”

What was the first gig you ever played?

“It was in a backyard for a party in the afternoon. We played like five songs that we knew, took a break then played them again an hour later ha ha. It was a one keg party, five bucks for a cup. It was a band in high school and we called ourselves The Mickey Finn Band. We did a couple of Journey songs like Stone In Love, a couple of original songs and some bluesy stuff. No metal at that time.”

What was the first gig you ever went to?

“The real first concert I ever went to was Ted Nugent in Bakersfield. It was fucking loud. It’s the loudest thing I can remember. I was mesmerised by the sound and how loud it was. I was 12 years old and thought it was fucking cool. I don’t really remember the show, but that Les Paul and Marshall… that was it.”

How was the first Korn tour?

“Our first real tour was with House Of Pain and Biohazard, and we were the opener. House Of Pain really got it, they watched us every night. I remember trying to make it to the very first show in an RV that we bought and it broke down like seven times. We were trying to make it from Huntington Beach to Atlanta, that was the first show. We made it there 30 minutes before we were due to play – we passed the venue like three times beforehand because it was such a small club. We took a wrong turn and went into a public park with all these brothers having a picnic in the park pumping NWA or something, and we were like “Oh shit!” like we’d just turned down the wrong street ha ha.

“The rest of the tour it wasn’t that fun. That RV ended up burning down and we moved into vans, and I remember [bassist] Fieldy saying ‘I’m not going another mile in these fucking vans until the record company sends a bus,’ then the bus came we got to ride it home. It was crazy. I tried to smoke crack for the first time on the first tour – it was horrible. It burned me, I burned my fingers… I decided then that it wasn’t for me. It was too hard. It was expensive and difficult to find, hence the word crackhead. I don’t recommend it.”

Korn’s 12th album The Serenity Of Suffering will be released on October 21, via Roadrunner.

The 10 best Korn songs, by Benji Webbe

Korn: Remember Who They Are

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.